The Order of Learning (a piece of music) in The Fingerboard Posted August 3, 2015 · Report reply Good question. The most successful players I have known, had very methodical practice habits. Slow practice was the foundation of learning a new piece, and these players learned a work to performance level much faster than their peers who learned the work by trying to play through the piece up to tempo from the beginning for get there too soon. A metronome is a required tool. Practicing slow really teaches you to hear the piece - every note - so that when you get up to tempo, even the fast passing tones are in tune. While learning notes first play softly with no vibrato, Then start mapping out you dynamics, accents, style, and bowings and start incorporating this, even into the slow playing. The bowings become a sort of choreography that work in conjunction with fingerings and shifts and vibrato that propels the piece along, much like a dance. It is important to have set bowings, at least for the first few performances. Memorization early in the process is important if you want to play from memory, but you must make sure you have every note down perfectly. Then learn the piece not just up to tempo but above tempo, you want to be comfortable at performance tempo - never perform a work at a tempo that is as fast as you can play it - that is a disaster in the making. A word on shifting. My experience is that the most common mistake made in shifting is that the player tries to make the shift faster than necessary, Always relax to shift, even for a 'large' shift, the distances are not far in an absolute sense. Watch any accomplished player, the shifts are always fluid and steady.